Modern housing linked to malaria risk decrease in sub-Saharan Africa: study

LONDON-- Researchers have found a link between modern houses and a reduction in the odds of children contracting malaria in sub-Saharan Africa, according to a study released Wednesday by the University of Oxford.

Insecticide-treated bednets and house spraying have been effective in reducing the prevalence of malaria since the turn of the 21st century, but other approaches are needed to eliminate the mosquito-transmitted, parasitic disease. Modern houses, with metal roofs and finished walls, are thought to be a better protection against the parasite compared with the traditional thatched houses.

In this study, a team led by University of Oxford researchers analyzed data on malaria prevalence and housing using data collected in 29 surveys carried out in 21 African countries between 2008 and 2015. Information on malaria status was available for 139,318 children under the age of five living in 84,153 households.

Across all surveys, modern housing was associated with a 9 to 14 percent reduction in the odds of malaria infection, according to the study.

Well-built housing can block mosquitoes from entering homes and prevent them from transmitting malaria to the people who live there, explained Lucy Tusting from the University of Oxford, who is the lead author of the study.

"This is a welcome finding at a time when we are facing increasing resistance to our most effective insecticides and drugs," said Tusting.

But the authors also cautioned that the effectiveness of improving housing varied depending on the location.

The study has been published in the journal PLOS Medicine.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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